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Numbers, Facts and Trends Shaping Your World

September 24, 2014

Changing Attitudes on Gay Marriage

Public Opinion

In Pew Research polling in 2001, Americans opposed same-sex marriage by a 57% to 35% margin.

Since then, support for same-sex marriage has steadily grown. Today, a majority of Americans (52%) support same-sex marriage, compared with 40% who oppose it.

Attitudes by Generation

This is due in part to generational change. Younger generations express higher levels of support for same-sex marriage.

However, older generations also have become more supportive of same-sex marriage in recent years.

Attitudes by Religious Affiliation

Among people who are religiously unaffiliated, a solid majority have supported same-sex marriage since 2001.

And among Catholics and white mainline Protestants, roughly six-in-ten now express support for same-sex marriage. Support for same-sex marriage also has grown among black Protestants.

Support among white evangelical Protestants remains lower than among other religious groups.

Attitudes by Political Party

Among Democrats, 64% now favor same-sex marriage, as do 58% of independents.

Most Republicans continue to oppose same-sex marriage.

Attitudes by Political Ideology

Support for same-sex marriage now stands at 75% among self-described liberals and 62% among moderates.

Far fewer conservatives (29%) support same-sex marriage.

Attitudes by Race

In 2001, roughly one-third of both whites and blacks expressed support for same-sex marriage. Today, 53% of whites support same-sex marriage, as do 42% of blacks.

Attitudes by Gender

Support for same-sex marriage has risen among both men and women in recent years. Today, 55% of women and 49% of men support same-sex marriage.

Source: Aggregated data from Pew Research Center polls conducted in each year. Question wording can be found here, and information on the Pew Research Center's polling methodology can be found here.